The Dr. Charles M. Wright house is the most recognizable home in the area. The house is one of two Effingham County structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (The other being the Effingham County Courthouse.)
Dr. Charles M. Wright was born in 1834, in the Eastern United States. He was born without a right hand and raised in poverty by his grandparents. He spent his late teens and early twenties working in lumber camps in Northern Wisconsin and later teaching school in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania. This helped pay for his medical degree from the Eclectic Medical College in Philadelphia.
In 1856, Dr. Wright went to a stagecoach company in Baltimore, Maryland. He laid down all of his money on the counter and asked to purchase a ticket to the farthest town west he could get to with his money. A few months later, he arrived in Freemanton, IL, a town east of Altamont on the National Road near Dexter Road. Freemanton had a reputation as a town with a frontier attitude. Wright persevered and established his own medical practice.
In the early 1870s, he moved his practice to Altamont, a growing railroad town. In 1874, he built a gorgeous two-story home, which he later moved across Main Street to make room for his new house. (The columned two-story home still stands across the street from the Wright Home.)
The (new) Dr. Charles M. Wright house was designed by architect C. H. Spilman from Edwardsville, IL, and it was constructed by Charles Hanker of Toledo, Illinois in 1889.
The house was the first residence in Altamont to have a gas lighting system, central steam-heating system, and indoor plumbing. It cost $35,000 to build.
The interior of the house is filled with decor including replica Egyptian artifacts, marble fireplaces, a skeleton, and various objects related to Altamont history.
The home was passed down to Dr. Charles Wright Jr., and later Charles Wright III. Charles Wright III passed away in 2001, leaving the home to a non-profit trust.
Today, the house stands as a symbol of the American dream. It is maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers with tours given from April to October and November through December.
You can take a virtual tour of the house at this link http://www.wrightmansion.org/tour/index.htm
Info from the Sesquicentennial of Effingham County: 1981.